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Abstract

Where several distinct agencies are charged with bringing a variety of services to the agricultural development of a particular zone, implementation of a consistent set of policies by all the concerned agencies as well as the acceptance of these policies by farmers, can be complicated by tradeoffs between differing growth and equity objectives, differing concepts of costs and externalities, and differing time discount rates. This paper presents a case study of how three agencies and local farmers have responded to the complexities of implementing mutually consistent policies for achieving objectives of growth, equity, and resource conservation in a regional watershed project area in an erosion zone in Cauca, Colombia. It considers interactions between agencies and farmers and tradeoffs between soil conservation and agricultural productivity. First, the study area and data collection are described. Second, the objectives and policies of three institutions responsible for different aspects of agricultural development in the region are discussed. Third, farmer response to policy implementation at the local level is analyzed; the incentives facing farmers frequently lead to behaviour at variance with official objectives. Finally, some implications of this study for problems in planning and implementation are considered in the context of growth and equity objectives.

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